Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mondays' Chore of the Day

Some of my first memories when I was a very young child were of clotheslines. Monday was Wash Day! We had a clothes line similar to others in the neighborhood. Women had a 'contest', of sorts, to see who could get their clothes out on the line FIRST! No prizes for that, but I'm sure it came with the pride of feeling like the best homemaker on the block!
Mom had a clothes pin bag with the plain slide on pins, and some of the new fan-dangled gripper clip-on style...much easier to get over top of jeans and thick fabrics. I recall being out in the yard on wash day while she hung out laundry. She had an expandable pen to corral me, forming a circle; when she had to run indoors for a moment, I would start wailing loudly - I didn't want to be out there by myself! She'd come out and hand me a cookie as a bribe, then race back indoors to finish up what she had going, then return to complete the laundry cycle and keep an eye on me! Sometimes she'd let me help by having me hand her the clothes pins as she told me what type she needed. As I got older, I would hand them to her with a practiced eye as I understood without being told which type she needed to pin up undies, shirts, and tablecloths.

Clothes lines at our house were for the nice weather! In winter mom would use the clothes dryer. I still remember her dumping the warm clothes out on the couch for folding! I loved to find a big towel or something cuddly to wrap up in - the heat from the dried fabrics were so comforting to a small child! It felt soooooo GOOD!

Times change and as life got busier, clotheslines came down. Today some communities don't allow such things - they're considered an 'eye sore'! I don't have a clothes line today (who knows what would fall on them as the birds zoom through the woods), but my dryer has a gentle air-toss cycle and a special feature for permanent press clothing. I've mentioned before about the troubles I've had with sour smelling towels; I traced the problem back to fabric softeners. I stopped using them, even though they have a very pleasant scent added. Now I launder everything with my chosen brand of detergent, but I use my old liquid fabric softener ball in a new way -
I fill it half full of white vinegar - the vinegar cuts the soap that might be remaining in the rinse cycle. Soap build-up can happen, and along with the build ups of fabric softeners, can actually make your clothing smell sour when you wear it a while and find yourself perspiring.

Some of us might not go back to the use of Monday Wash Day and the use of clothes lines, but we all must do laundry. If you have any Wash Day hints, please include them in your comments! I'd love to hear them!


Angela said...

I remember my mom hanging our clothes out on a clothes line when I was a kid. I also remember making tents using the clothes line with the clean sheets that were drying in the Sun! It was great fun! I don't have a clothes line. I sometimes wish I did but with all of the pollen, birds, bugs and lady bugs around here it just would make my things dirty to do it.

I do add white vinegar to my wash from time to time. I buy my big bottles from Sams. I think I'm getting 2 big bottles for the price of 1 small bottle.


^..^Corgidogmama said...

Golly, such a cool post!
We always hung clothes out on the line, and usually on more days a week than just Monday. It's funny, I'm here alone all week, and I still do at least 3 loads of wash during the week. My MIL comes over once a week, then when Jim is home, there's several loads of his work clothes. Thank God for modern convienences! Life in the old days, would been awful. Love your vinegar tip, thanks so much!!!

~Deborah~ said...

I loved hanging clothes! Not a cool thing to do anymore. I don't have one either now that we live in the woods ... I know what you mean!

Deborah in NC

LV said...

You really took me back in time. We used them all our lives and washed in a black pot with lye soap. I had a cloths line even when I moved here in 1964. Over the years, it no longer stands. I loved cloths on the line. They smell so much fresher and clean. We already have 6 inches of snow just today and still coming down. Lord help all of us~

BarefootBride said...

I thought it was only me who loves wrapping themselves up in the warmth of the clothes straight from the dryer! I love the smell of them, too. When I was litle my father would put the towels in the dryer when we got out of the shower in winter, so that when we got out we had warm towels. Now they have heated towel rails and I don't think it's the same feeling. Now I live in the tropics and we rarely use the dryer except for during the wet season when it can rain for weeks at a time. I'm glad I stopped by at this blog, it brought back some lovely memories.

Troy said...

At my house we have a laundry fairy. I simply toss my dirty clothes in a pile next to the hamper and when I come back in a day or two, they are washed, dried, folded and carefully placed back in my drawers.

Everyone should get one.

They are very nice to have.

Chatty Crone said...

My mother in law used to do this all the time. I remember the clothes smelled so good.

I didn't know about the vinegar though - interesting.

PS If you put your clothes outside now - wouldn't they be frozen?

ocmist said...

Yes, my Mom had a clothesline too, and I used to help hand her the clothespins. I knew what that bag was the second I saw it. My Mom used to embroider things to (she's the one that taught me how) and she made some of those, along with pillowcases, etc. to sell.

We had a clothesline at our first house when Mike and I got married before we could afford a clothes drier. The clothes DID smell SO FRESH when I'd take them down. Every once in a while, I still hang a sheet or blanket out to dry just to get that fresh smell, and I still sometimes have my son put a big towel into the drier, if it is cold, so that I can have it when I get out of the tub...

I also do that for my grandkids whenever they are here, cause there's nothing that feels better than being wrapped in a fresh, warm towel! Shoot... I sometimes wrap myself in one of my blanket-towels fresh from the drier when I'm sitting here at the computer and am to lazy to get up and build a fire if it's just a "little" cold.